Abstract

Despite the global and local daylight changes naturally occurring in natural scenes, the human visual system usually adapts quite well to those changes, developing a stable color perception. Nevertheless, the influence of daylight in modeling natural image statistics is not fully understood and has received little attention. The aim of this work was to analyze the influence of daylight changes in different high-order chromatic descriptors (i.e., color volume, color gamut, and number of discernible colors) derived from 350 color images, which were rendered under 108 natural illuminants with Correlated Color Temperatures (CCT) from 2735 to 25,889 K. Results suggest that chromatic and luminance information is almost constant and does not depend on the CCT of the illuminant for values above 14,000 K. Nevertheless, differences between the red-green and blue-yellow image components were found below that CCT, with most of the statistical descriptors analyzed showing local extremes in the range 2950 K–6300 K. Uniform regions and areas of the images attracting observers’ attention were also considered in this analysis and were characterized by their patchiness index and their saliency maps. Meanwhile, the results of the patchiness index do not show a clear dependence on CCT, and it is remarkable that a significant reduction in the number of discernible colors (58% on average) was found when the images were masked with their corresponding saliency maps. Our results suggest that chromatic diversity, as defined in terms of the discernible colors, can be strongly reduced when an observer scans a natural scene. These findings support the idea that a reduction in the number of discernible colors will guide visual saliency and attention. Whatever the modeling is mediating the neural representation of natural images, natural image statistics, it is clear that natural image statistics should take into account those local maxima and minima depending on the daylight illumination and the reduction of the number of discernible colors when salient regions are considered.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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